Featured in Scene What's the best way to deal with seasonal allergies?

Pets react to airborne allergies just like humans do. But when they inhale these potential allergens, instead of just sneezing and sniffling, they get very inflamed and itchy skin that can become infected. It is important to treat any secondary infections or underlying conditions before starting to treat seasonal allergies. The idea of treating seasonal allergies is to make the skin less reactive. Here are some of the agents used to treat or manage allergies for pets.

Antihistamines: Some pets respond to these. There are a variety of choices, but, just like humans, not all pets respond to the same antihistamine.

Fatty acid supplements: These work together with antihistamines to help manage the skin inflammation.

Steroids or cortisone-type medications: These are highly effective in managing the itching and giving temporary relief. But because they have significant side effects, these are not ideal for long-term management.

Baths: Using a medicated shampoo helps remove the allergens from the skin and also provides a calming effect.

Immunotherapy or allergen shots: This would involve giving shots at regular intervals and at longer intervals based on response.

Your veterinarian can provide you with more information on which therapy might be best for your pet.

This week's expert is Dr. Padma Yadlapalli, Freetown Animal Hospital in Columbia. To submit a question for a local animal expert, email unleashed@baltsun.com.